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How do I Back-Flush my Plate Exchanger?

Plate Exchanger

Back-flushing the plate exchanger, also known as the heat exchanger or a tankless coil for your Domestic Hot Water, is very easy to do. It is suggested that it should be done monthly, especially in hard-water areas. Back-flushing is important because the small passage ways inside the plate exchanger can become blocked with contaminants including rust or scale. This reduces the water pressure resulting in poor heating of the water and less flow to the faucets.

Below is a picture of a typical Energy Kinetics System 2000 boiler with a plate exchanger and the directions to follow. Other systems may also use the plate exchanger and the location of the different parts may vary on different installations.

Energy Kinetics System 2000 with indirect hot water storage tank - showing the plate exchanger, the back flush valve, bronze circulator, and ball valve.

Normally, the domestic circulator [2], pulls the water from the bottom of the domestic storage tank [5], forces it up through the plate exchanger [4], and up and back into the top of the storage tank. To back flush the plate exchanger, force the water back down through the plate exchanger, in the reverse direction.

To back flush, first locate the ball valve [1], under the domestic circulator [2]. Close it by turning it 90 degrees. Next open the back flush valve [3], until the water runs clear and strong. Catch the water in a bucket to observe the material which may come out and the flow rate. It should be a strong flow. Usually 1 to 3 gallons is sufficient. Once finished, simply close the back flush valve, then re-open the ball valve.

Caution: The water coming out of the back flush valve may be extremely hot, enough to cause burns. Protective eye-wear and rubber gloves should be worn. Hooking up a small hose also helps, but hold onto it while draining.

The whole process should take less than 2 minutes. And by doing this monthly, it will keep your system working at peak performance and extend the life of the exchanger.


Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.

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